Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Virtually a friend?

Recently a blogger I read regularly posted about his frustration with the lack of interaction he was experiencing in the blogosphere and other social networking sites he uses.

I don't know that I am someone to whom the comments were directed, but I do have thoughts on his comments.

He said something along the lines of he didn't want to hear that people were busy. Everyone is busy, what makes any one persons' busy more busy than anyone elses', he asked.

It is true, most people are busy, and I am certainly no exception. It is that time of year in my line of work where I spend the majority of my brain power on work and the rest goes toward my home life. I don't say that as an excuse though, it is simply my reality. Because my precious mental, emotional and physical resources are being used up by my life, I choose carefully how to use the limited time and energy I have left in my days. And if I choose to not pay attention to a blog here and there, oh well. I will catch up, I will check in, but I won't apologize for making the choices I think are appropriate for me. I also think that much like in face to face, brick and mortar friendships if you will, sometimes there are down times. Times where people go for weeks without interacting or talking because of the demands of life. Hopefully in all of these relationships, ones based on mutual respect and common interests, people understand that these ups and downs take place, and that it does not mean that someone is being rude. Priorities are what what they are. Everyone has to choose them as they see fit. Sometimes people even check in with other people to see if everything is okay and how they are if someone has been missing in action.

He also went on to say that he reads certain blogs even though he is not necessarily interested in pictures and stories of the bloggers' kids etc. I am sorry if someone who reads my blog is bored by pictures and stories of my child, but that is what you get if you participate in my life, even if it is only by reading my blog. I write this blog mostly to keep the uber important people in my life, my family and friends who don't see me on a regular basis, up to date on what is going on with us. And that very much includes pictures and stories about my son. My family does not live locally, and they use this vehicle as a means to see the progress he is making. If that is not interesting to unrelated parties, I really don't care.

He included comments on the quality of writing on most blogs, i.e. they are not terribly witty or pithy or even well written. I personally don't pretend to be a Pulitzer prize winning writer, or even a writer good enough for publication in the Ladies Home Journal. I write like I talk. If someone finds that boring or tiresome, I really don't care. As for advertising, almost no one makes any money from their blogs, and I am not trying to earn any money with this blog. I am no Dooce or Mr. Lady, and I took the ads off of my blog awhile ago since they were bugging me and of no use to me.

These social networking options, blogging, Facebook, etc. are great for connecting with people you would probably never meet in person, or don't get to see regularly. But they come with serious flaws. First it is always important to be aware that how the written word is interpreted is very much in the hands of the reader. No amount of emoticons can stop someone from interpreting an odd comment left on a blog or on FB in an unintended way if that is how they choose to interpret it. The writer has as much responsibility in the communication process as the reader. Maybe moreso. So don't say anything you don't want out there, forever, and being nice is more important than being witty or pithy in my book.

Ultimately it all breaks down to this, and it is true for anyone, virtual or face to face: follow my blog, don't follow. Be a friend, don't be a friend, I will still choose to use my time as I see fit, and hope that the people who know me and care will be supportive and understanding and stick around to see what happens next.


Dproudmama said...

Oh boy! Lack of interaction is it? I recently deactivated my short lived Facebook page. I felt it creeping into my life just a little too much. I love to read these blogs - for the reason you have put down here - to know about your lives, as I am not there. I am amazed at the continual assault on people by their need to be connected to something/someone all the time. I love technology & gadgets! Yet, are we filling holes in life with noise?

Chip said...

One who is a friend would be interested in the very things about which you write: that which is important to you. Not pithy or witty enough? Meh...

Tammy said...

Very well said----you read my mind in the reason I write my own blog. It's for me and mine, and although open to the general public, I could care less what they think, especially if I get a negative comment. Someone once told me I needed to write more "racy" material to gain more readers. HA, that's not me, so why would I write that way and again I don't write to gain readers, I write to share my life with those interested.

And I do enjoy reading your blog.

Audubon Ron said...

...and he very pleased to see his name appear in your blog love list of friends, from which he was removed for reasons unbeknownst to him. And he still doesn't like pics kids because he doesn't. But, he has been a faithful friend for a very long time and commented on your blog, pics and all when no one else would. That should virtually amount to something, shouldn’t it? He is sure he wasn't writing about you.

dubiousMa said...

I agree. I read blogs to see how others' lives compare to my own. However, one thing that does get my goat is when I ask a question, a valid question, on Twitter for example, and not one of the over 200 people who follow me answers. That can be kind of annoying, but really, if I find a particular blog uninteresting, I just don't go back. That's everyone's prerogative.